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Sobering Dismal Precedent: Why Labour shouldn’t split

Ross McKibbin goes too far

By John Curtice   April 2017

This article is a response to “The red sag”—the cover piece from our April 2017 issue 

Breaking up is hard to do. The Gang of Four, who left Labour in 1981 to found the SDP, soon learnt as much. Their dream of “breaking the mould of British politics” was shattered in 1983: the cruel logic of first-past-the-post saw just six SDP MPs returned. They failed despite distinct advantages: they were heavyweight politicians and familiar faces. They could claim a distinctive position in the political centre. And they could forge an alliance…

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